MAN UTD and Man City continued their early season domination of the Premier League courtesy of another pair of commanding displays. The Britannia Stadium roared Stoke to an unlikely victory while a new cast of ladies in red - well, Arsenal - helped the Gunners stutter back into life at the Emirates.
THE ‘Welcome to Manchester’ hoarding has become the modern day ‘This is Anfield’ as 100% records plus a combined goals scored column of 33 and 6 goals conceded sees both Manchester clubs sitting joint-top of the Premier League. The manner in which United and City have brushed aside their opponents in the opening weeks suggests it is going to be a two horse race for the title. Suggests, mind.
Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini's decision to cast off the defensive shackles and move forward at the earliest opportunity has reaped immediate dividends and made for some scintillating football. Rooney, Hernandez, Young and Nani are inter-linking to devastating effect while City's equivalent of Aguero, Silva, Dzeko and Nasri are just as potent if given the chance.
IN between regular hourly updates to Sky Sports News during the recent transfer window Harry Redknapp managed to pull off two important signings. Tottenham's latest recruits Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor featured prominently during Spurs first victory of the season away to Wolves at the weekend. Parker anchored a previously flaky midfield while Adebayor (who had previously scored 10 in 14 against Spurs) netted a fine individual debut effort for his new club. Press speculation of Redknapp's possible promotion to the England job rounded off a happy weekend for the former West Ham and Portsmouth manager.
The Britannia Stadium
FEW Premier League grounds generate the noise and atmosphere of the Britannia Stadium. The Stoke City fans deserve credit for their efforts considering the lack of decent football on display under Tony Pulis. The Potters' supporters have been rewarded with an FA Cup final appearance and European football in the past 12 months as a thank you for making the Britannia one of the most intimidating grounds in English football.
ON a weekend both Manchester clubs hogged the Premier League limelight Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea quietly came away with all three points from the Stadium of Light to keep within touching distance of the top two. New signings Juan Mata and Raul Meireles have slotted into Chelsea's midfield but Villas-Boas' decision to drop Fernando Torres proved wholly justified as his replacement Daniel Sturridge scored an impudent winner. If Chelsea's new manager maintains his ruthless streak of picking players purely based on form then the Stamford Bridge club will have a big say in this year's title race.
TWO key errors handed Stoke City an unlikely 1-0 victory at the expense of Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium. Clattenburg's conclusion that Jamie Carragher hauled down Jonathan Walters appeared harsh but his failure to award a spot-kick after Matthew Upson clearly handballed a Luis Suarez cross drew the ire of Kenny Dalglish in his post-match interviews. The Anfield club's first defeat of the season was not solely down to Clattenburg's incompetence but the match official's inconsistency could lead to a period of cooling off in the Championship.
THE stereotypical modern day Premier League footballer is often derided as an uncaring, money-grabbing, overpaid, underworked and disloyal individual. And then Asamoah Gyan goes and proves it. Steve Bruce's marquee £13m signing of 2010-11 announced early Saturday morning that he was set to join United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain on a season-long loan. Bruce mentioned in a post-match interview that Gyan had shook hands with him only 48 hours previous and agreed to see out the remainder of his contract.
THE Swansea goalkeeper and Fantasy Football favourite had received deserved plaudits for his early season form until an absolute clanger presented Andrey Arshavin with a simple finish and eventual winner at the Emirates Stadium.
KEVIN Davies’ lunge at Tom Cleverley caused substantial ankle ligament damage to the Manchester United midfielder. Davies is no stranger to awkward tackles but Cleverley’s injury comes at the worst possible time for the rookie midfielder who had established himself in the centre of the park for both club and country in recent weeks. Sir Alex Ferguson expects his young midfielder to be out for at least 4 weeks.
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